First Published: 2013-01-16

 

Morsi explains to US: My comments on Israel taken out of context

 

Egypt President stresses his commitment to full respect for ‘religions, freedom of faith, religious practices, especially heavenly religions.’

 

Middle East Online

No apology, but brief clarification

CAIRO - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said on Wednesday that comments on Israel attributed to him before he was elected, slammed as deeply offensive by the United States, were taken out of context.

"The president stressed they were taken from comments on the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and stressed the need to put the remarks in the right context," said a statement from the presidency issued after Morsi met US Senator John McCain.

According to a TV clip released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Morsi refers in a 2010 interview to "occupiers of Palestine" as "blood suckers and war mongers, and descendants of pigs and apes."

"We must resist them with all forms of resistance. A military resistance in Palestine against these Zionist criminals assaulting the land of Palestine and Palestinians," he says in the remarks to Quds Channel three years ago.

In Wednesday's statement, Morsi "stressed his commitment to the principles he has always insisted on, including full respect for religions, freedom of faith and religious practices, especially the heavenly religions."

Morsi also "stressed the need to differentiate between Judaism and its adherents from (those who practise) violent actions against Palestinians."

He also "stressed the importance of building a strategic relationship between Egypt and the United States based on mutual respect and shared interests."

On Tuesday, Washington condemned Morsi's remarks and urged him to clarify his views.

"The language that we've seen is deeply offensive," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, adding "we think that these comments should be repudiated, and they should be repudiated firmly."

Morsi, who was a leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, came to power in June as the Arab nation's first democratically elected president, following the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Nuland said Washington had already raised its concerns about the television clip with Cairo, and stressed again that Congress, which has blocked part of $1 billion in extra US aid, was watching the new Egyptian leadership carefully.

"We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This kind of rhetoric has been used in this region for far too long," she told journalists. "It's counter to the goals of peace."

"President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt," added White House spokesman Jay Carney.

The two administration officials stressed, however, that since coming to office, Morsi had reaffirmed Egypt's commitment to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

He had done so "in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us toward shared objectives, including a ceasefire during the crisis in Gaza last year," Carney said.

Washington would judge Morsi by both what he says and what he does, Nuland added.

 

Syrian regime confident of Aleppo victory

Dozens of civilians killed in Iraq air strike

Israel votes to approve settler homes bill

Egypt’s 'three-year strategy' seeks to revive struggling economy

Qatar to invest up to $13bn on 'mega projects' in 2017

Two Hamas militants killed in Gaza tunnel collapse

Libya's key oil region threatened by renewed fighting

Syria rebels call for Aleppo ceasefire

Rebel rockets scar west Aleppo residents

Egypt jails prominent NGO activist

Turkish soldier killed in Syria bomb blast

IS-linked group ousted from Somalia town

Kerry, Lavrov to resume Syria talks Wednesday

Iraqis swarm to remarry after liberation from ‘caliphate’

Four drown, 34 rescued off Morocco coast

Israel to vote on bill to legalise West Bank settlements

Turkish businessmen embrace Erdogan’s plan to boost lira

Battle for Mosul advances deeper into city

Iran to sign deal with Shell in bid to boost output

Israeli missiles strike targets outside Damascus

Over 40 people missing after ship sinks off Yemen

Hollande condemns Russia’s ‘systematic obstruction’ of Syria ceasefire

Turkey doing 'everything possible' to push Syria talks between Russia, opposition

Britain wants ‘strategic partnership’ with GCC

Russia army colonel dies after Aleppo rebel shelling

Syria forces take control of Aleppo Old City

Libyan forces hunt remaining jihadists in Sirte

Iraqi jailed in Sweden for war crimes after Facebook post

Regime forces seize five Aleppo districts from rebels

Israeli artist erects golden Netanyahu statue in protest

Russia says US stalling on Aleppo rebel pullout

Saudi sentences 15 to death for being Iranian spies

US defence secretary says Mosul battle could end before Trump

US, NATO stress 'unity' as Trump raises doubts

Greece to extradite three Turkish coup officers

Egypt arrests 25 human organ traffickers

Morocco PM statement on Russia’s ‘destructive’ role in Syria angers Moscow

Israel far right hails bill to 'legalise' settler homes

Merkel says Aleppo situation ‘disgrace’

Iranian president says sanctions renewal proves US still ‘enemy’

Yemen arrests eight IS suspects in Aden

Turkey arrests opposition advisor over alleged Gulen links

Russia says OPEC, non-OPEC countries to meet in Vienna

British PM joins GCC summit for trade talks

Israel government nears deal that could 'legalise' settler homes